3D segmentation of cell boundaries from whole cell cryogenic electron tomography volumes

Research Area: A.1-Electron Microscopy Year: 2010
Type of Publication: Article
Publication: Journal of Structural Biology
  • Farshid Moussavi
  • Geremy Heitz
  • Fernando Amat
  • Luis R Comolli
  • Daphne Koller
  • Mark Horowitz
PMID: 20035877
Cryogenic electron tomography (cryo-ET) has gained increasing interest in recent years due to its ability to image whole cells and subcellular structures in 3D at nanometer resolution in their native environment. However, due to dose restrictions and the inability to acquire high tilt angle images, the reconstructed volumes are noisy and have missing information. Thus, features are unreliable, and precision extraction of the cell boundary is difficult, manual and time intensive. This paper presents an efficient recursive algorithm called BLASTED (Boundary Localization using Adaptive Shape and Texture Discovery) to automatically extract the cell boundary using a conditional random field (CRF) framework in which boundary points and shape are jointly inferred. The algorithm learns the texture of the boundary region progressively, and uses a global shape model and shape-dependent features to propose candidate boundary points on a slice of the membrane. It then updates the shape of that slice by accepting the appropriate candidate points using local spatial clustering, the global shape model, and trained boosted texture classifiers. The BLASTED algorithm segmented the cell membrane over an average of 93% of the length of the cell in 19 difficult cryo-ET datasets.